Maybe you didn't know his name.
But you sure know his work.
Special effects master Stan Winston passed away on Sunday after a seven-year battle with multiple melanoma. The Oscar-winning Winston was a master of his craft, working with Hollywood giants like James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Michael Bay and a slew of others.
Winston was pretty much at the top of his field, well known for his make up effects and animatronics and setting the bar for today's filmmakers. Stan was an old school type of guy - his heyday was back in the '80s and early '90s before the rise of the computer generated imagery (which his company had started to dabble in recently).
Through puppetry and stop-motion animation, Stan and his people created some of the most iconic ghosties, ghoulies and long-legged beasties in cinema, including the Predator, the aliens from the Alien movie franchise, the socially challenged Edward Scissorhands, the Terminator, the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park and, most recently, the suit that Robert Downey Jr. aka Tony stark wears in the film Iron Man.
I was fortunate enough to attend a talk given by Winston in 2000 and it was obvious that the man was infactuated with his craft. He loved it and, in return, it gave him great joy and success. It was surprising to find out, then, that when he was asked what the his least-favorite film he had worked on was, it was Jurassic Park. In fact, he said he hated the film. Why? It was the first time CGI had been incorporated so heavily into a major motion picture and he said that when he watched it the first time, he realized he was "about to be out of a job."
For the sake of every movie lover, thank goodness it wasn't true. It's safe to say Winston was a pioneer in his field and his influence will be felt for years to come.